Off the Hook

April 26, 2012

I’m so tired, guys. Being a good student is overrated. I don’t recommend it.

I was going to go to bed very early last night but then random girls suddenly showed up at my house to watch Lost. What was I to do? We’re in season 2. Anna Lucia is one crazykins.

Today I have to write two papers. Luckily they’re mainly reflection papers, which means I don’t have to actually be in the library. I’ll probably be at my old standby table in the student center. Come visit me. I’m there so often, the campus geese have started to welcome me.

It’s going to be off the hook, you guys. Buster says so.

I was doing some class reading yesterday, and it was talking about teaching from an intercultural perspective. The focus of this particular chapter was related to how the Bible was written from such a different perspective than ours. One of the ways we see this is the communal identity that is so prevalent in Scripture. We think very individualistically as Westerners, but in the Bible, people think as a community. The book, Teaching the Bible in the Church said, “In the ancient cultures reflected in the Bible there is much more a corporate sense of who a person is. As we mentioned earlier in this chapter, when in our culture we hear someone say ‘you,’ we hear that as an address to a single individual; we hear ‘me.’ However, in the ancient cultures reflected in the Bible, the dominant way in which ‘you’ was understood was plural, an address not to an individual but to a community.”

This is so true. There are so many places in the Scripture that our Bibles translate as “you” but if you look at it in the Hebrew it’s “you all.” I think this also helps us understand some difficult passages in the Scripture a little better. For example, in Joshua 7, Israel loses a battle at Ai because a man named Achan stole some of the devoted things. Achan is found out and he — along with all of his family — are put to death. This is so difficult to my mind because it seems really unfair that Achan’s family died too. But the Eastern mind thought much less individually and much more communally. That’s why a good king could bring blessings to Israel, and a father’s sins would be felt by his descendents.

I don’t know if it helps with the hard passages, but I do think it’s useful for us to understand that this was a way of viewing the world that was very different from ours. It brings a little perspective.

OK. Lesson of the day!

I shall now go find some people at school to whine to about all the homework. Oh, also! If you live in Denver or the Springs and you need some fun times weekend plans, you should consider coming to the Abundant Lives fundraiser at my church this Saturday. There will be food and dancing and jazz and prizes and spiffy dressers and all around good times. Also, I’ll be there, so totally worth it.

K, bye!

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2 Responses to “Off the Hook”

  1. The whole ‘you’ thing works better in European languages. This is why I think we should bring back the old English system of Thou – in the old days, a verb would go like this:
    Subject form:
    I say
    Thou sayest
    He saith
    We say
    You say
    They say

    Object form:
    …unto me
    …unto thee
    …unto him
    …unto us
    …unto you
    …unto them

    So it was crystal clear whether an individual or a community was being addressed. Of course in the romance and Germanic languages it’s even nicer because ‘one’ (another much-missed pronoun) can use a different pronoun depending on whether the relationship one has with the Object is formal and informal (‘vous’ for strangers, ‘tu’ for intimates).

    Bring back the missing pronouns!

  2. (I meant formal OR informal…)

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